Fishless Cycle

How to do fishless cycleSo you have your tank, you have it decorated with substrate, plants, ornaments, you have filled with conditioned water, your filters in and running your heaters fitted, so are you ready to add fish? Simple answer is NO.
Before you add fish you need to cycle your tank. There are several ways to do so but the best way is by far fishless cycling.

Go to your local pharmacy or hardware stores and buy a bottle of pure ammonia. Also purchase from you LFS a good quality water test kit. I personally swear by API test master kits. Liquid tests are better than strips.

You should add enough ammonia to your tank that it brings the Ammonia reading up to 4 to 6 ppm. The only way to do this is add a drop of ammonia, swirl it around, wait a moment, test the water and repeat. Remember how much ammonia you’ve added. It will vary depending on what concentration of ammonia you’ve bought, so there is no real guideline here. Keep note of how much ammonia you have added this is crucial.
Each day add the same amount of ammonia, and check your ammonia an hour later. When the ammonia reading drops to 0, start testing your water using your Nitrite test kit.

Keep adding the ammonia, and checking the Nitrite every day. The nitrite level should climb, then drop down to 0. This spike will occur over a period of days, so be patient. When your nitrites are at 0 an hour after you add the ammonia, your tank should be cycled. Its usually best to keep a diary or log of your water test results. This can not be rushed and will take roughly 4 weeks sometimes longer, not ofter less.

During this time you should keep your lights switched on for up to 10 hours a day. With no water changes.

Once your tank is fully cycled you can stop adding ammonia and stock with fish. Then do weekly 20% water changes and substrate vacs.

If you can get hold of used healthy filter media great you can add up to a third of it from an established filter without it affecting the original tank. This will speed up your tank cycle immensely as you have given it a huge jump start.

You can also do fishless cycles using a raw prawn or by adding fish food to the tank and leaving it to rot, this will produce an ammonia spike and then a nitrite spike and cycle your tank also.

The most important thing is to Cycle, and fishless cycling is the best way to go, it saves your fish a whole heap of stress, pain, shock and distress and also possibly dying. It also saves you a whole heap of work and heart ache you would no doubt encounter if you went the fish in tank cycle process.

Article written by Malakye

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